Does Gun Control Reduce Criminal Violence? An Econometric Evaluation of Canadian Firearm Laws

Gary A. Mauser, Simon Fraser University
Dennis Maki, Simon Fraser University

A pooled cross-section, time series model is used to evaluate the effect of the 1977 and the 1991 amendments to the Canadian firearms legislation on robbery rates between 1962 and 1997. Three classes of independent variables are included in the model: [a] punishment variables [e.g., clearance rates], [b] sociological variables [e.g., percentage male youth], and [c] socio-economic variables [e.g., unemployment claims per capita]. This is the largest database yet assembled to analyze firearm legislation in Canada. This is the first econometric study of the 1991 Canadian firearm legislation conducted, although there have been several studies of earlier Canadian firearms legislation. The results of previous studies of the Canadian firearm legislation are mixed. Most studies found insignificant results, but two government studies found the legislation reduced homicide. One other paper found the 1977 legislation significantly increased robbery rates. This study did not find a significant effect for either the 1977 or the 1991 firearm legislation on robbery rates.

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Updated 05/20/2006